Conferment of The Foreign Minister’s Commendation on Grand Master So-Jitsu Kobori

1. The Foreign Minister’s Commendation will be conferred on So-Jitsu Kobori, the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu School of Tea in recognition of the Grand Master’s significant contributions toward cultural exchange and mutual understanding through tea between Japan and Singapore, especially in regard to his contribution to NUS for almost 30 years.

2. In April 1989, the 12th Grand Master of the Enshu School was part of the Government cultural representative to Singapore involved in the “Japanese Festival” that was organised as part of the inauguration ceremony for the Ambassador’s new residence. The activities of the “Japanese Festival” saw cultural interactions with many Singaporean dignitaries including late Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. This contribution to the goodwill and the exchanges between the two countries was the start of the activities of Enshu School of Tea in Singapore.

4. In October 1989, NUS invited the Grand Master to start the Tea Ceremony Classes at NUS. Since August 1990, instructors have been dispatched from Japan three times a year (in March, August and December) to teach NUS students. This activity has been going on for nearly 30 years. The 13th Grand Master So-Jitsu Kobori has been involved since the start as the Director of International Relations (Deputy Grand Master at the time) and has visited Singapore every August to teach the students himself.

4. The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries and areas. The Commendations also aim to promote the understanding and support of the Japanese public for the activities of the recipients.

5. The award ceremony will take place on 23rd July at Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, where the Grand Master will receive his Commendation.